Celebrate and honour Black History Month this year with a fact of the day.
Black History Month takes place annually from February 1st until March 1st. This year’s theme, as chosen yearly by the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, is The Black Family: Representation, Identity, and Diversity.
In the UK and Europe, Black History Month takes place in October instead. Read on to find out why the US chose February.
Fact of the day: February 1st
February 1st is the birthday of famed poet Langston Hughes. The poet was a key figure in what is known as the Harlem Renaissance, the growth of Black intellectual, literary, and artistic life that occurred in the 1920s in many American cities, but especially Harlem.
Langston Hughes was the first black American to earn a living from his writing and public lectures alone. His work focused almost entirely on honestly portraying life as a working-class black man in America, including both the joy and struggle.
The history behind Black History Month
Black History Month was created by Carter G. Woodson, an author and historian, whose parents were enslaved. He went on to become the second African American to earn a PhD at Harvard University.
Realising that the American education system provided little teaching about the accomplishments of African Americans, Woodson founded what is now called The Association for the Study of African American Life and History.
The month started as a week and began as a showcase of everything students had learned about black history in the year. The second week in February was originally chosen to coincide with the birthdays of Frederick Douglass, an abolitionist, and President Abraham Lincoln, the president who officially abolished slavery.
However, in 1976 President Gerald Ford converted it into a month-long history event.